Forget the blender, reach for a toothbrush instead. Sardines are better than protein shakes after workouts.
Today, as part of my 5×5 workout, I performed squats, deadlifts and overhead shoulder presses. I traveled to and from the gym on a red skateboard along Pacific Coast Highway. Ostensibly, I’m a grownup. Just like the teenager I’m behaving like, I needed to replenish my body when I returned home. Most folks in the weight training world opt for some chocolate flavored powder. “It’s easy and quick, and packed with protein,” I hear them cry. Possibly, but our bodies are tuned to run on food, not dehydrated, extracted, and processed “nutrients.” I peeled open a can of sardines, shook some organic jalapeño hot sauce on them and went to town.
It’s pretty widely understood that our bodies need amino acids to build muscle. Proteins form the foundation of muscles and connective tissues, antibodies that keep our immune system powerful and deliver oxygen and nutrients throughout our systems.They have other critical functions as well. From completenutrition.com:
Amino acids aren’t just useful for muscle development and immune strength — they may also be key players in the development of your central nervous system. According to Dr. John W. McDonald of the Johns Hopkins University Department of Neurology, amino acids may “exert trophic influences affecting neuronal survival, growth and differentiation during restricted developmental periods.”
Conveniently, sardines are an exceptional source of protein, which our bodies break down into amino acids. A 1 ounce serving of sardines (around 2-3 small pieces) provides roughly 7 grams of protein. This is comparable to a similar sized serving of steak. A can of sardines is shelf stable, easily transportable and can be eaten quickly.
Brace yourself if you’ve never dug into a can before, sardines taste like fish. I don’t necessarily eat them for the flavor, although I don’t mind them at all. Here are some serving ideas, courtesy of whfoods.com:
A Few Quick Serving Ideas
- Sprinkle sardines with lemon juice and extra virgin olive oil
- Combine sardines with chopped onion, olives, or fennel.
- Top sardines with chopped tomatoes and basil, oregano, or rosemary.
- Balsamic vinegar gives sardines a nice zing.
- Make a sauce with extra virgin olive oil, lemon juice, pressed garlic, Dijon mustard, and salt and pepper. Serve over sardines
It’s nice to know we have variety. You read a few days ago that I’m not eating grains or processed sugars at the moment. I can cut those foods out with such confidence in part because I have so many protein, fruit and veggie choices.
With sardines, I get value at the margins. They will never be my favorite food, but I want them on my team.